Ethan Hawke turns in a killer performance as tragic trumpet maestro Chet Baker, as he stages a comeback in the late ‘60s after falling down from hard drugs too many times. Writer/director Robert Budreau balances this portrait of troubled genius — in which Hawke truly sings, bloodied mug and all — with a love story. The lovely Carmen Ejogo plays the actress who saves Baker, after he’s beaten nearly to death by a disgruntled drug dealer, from himself. For a moment, anyway.
While no release date has been set, IFC could play its cards to earn awards attention next year for Hawke, whose music doc “Seymour” was backed by the distributor’s sister label Sundance Selects earlier this year. (IFC also carried Hawke to an Oscar nomination for “Boyhood.”) Buzz was quiet for “Born to Be Blue” in Toronto, though it’s hard not to be moved by his portrayal.